EMSL Provides Analytical Laboratory Services & Sampling Products for Coal Dust Monitoring
Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mining Safety and Health Association (MSHA) released a final rule to lower miners’ exposure to respirable coal dust. The rule issued by MSHA will lower the respirable coal mine dust exposure limit from 2.0 to 1.5 mg/m3 (a 25% limit reduction) at underground and surface coal mines. The rule will also reduce the existing limit from 1.0 to 0.5 mg/m3 (a 50% limit reduction). The rule is effective on August 1, 2014, and includes a two-year phase-in period to allow mine operators adequate time to comply with MSHA’s proposed respirable dust standards.
According to MSHA, the rule will require miner workers to collect respirable dust samples during an entire shift of work as opposed to stopping measurement after eight hours. As a result, samples that show an excessive concentration of respirable dust will require immediate corrective action to lower the dust levels. This will expand medical surveillance requirements for miners and strengthen requirements for certified personnel who perform dust sampling as well as maintain and calibrate sampling equipment. The full copy of this rule along with complete educational and support information can be viewed at: http://www.msha.gov/endblacklung/.
These exposure limit changes stem from MSHA’s goal of ending all incidences of black lung disease, also termed Pneumoconiosis, which is an occupational lung disease caused by inhaling coal dust. Currently, there are approximately 130,000 underground coal miners actively working in the United States. In the past ten years, over 10,000 American miners have died from black lung disease.
Although this disease is preventable, many miners are still developing advanced and severe cases. Recently, the rates of the disease have been on the rise. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that close to nine percent of miners with 25 years or more experience tested positive for black lung in 2005–2006, compared to only four percent in the late 1990’s.
“The importance of MSHA lowering these exposure limits to respirable coal dust in order to eliminate black lung disease in miner workers cannot be applauded enough,” said Stephen Siegel, CIH, MBA, and Gravimetric/Silica Lab Director at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “These rule changes, along with the recent OSHA proposed rule to lower respirable silica dust exposure levels, shows a serious commitment from the government to improve miner workers’ health and safety throughout the United States.”
EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides gravimetric dust and silica analyses in environmental samples. To learn more about EMSL’s testing for respirable dust, silica and any other industrial hygiene testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com . EMSL also maintains a full stock of sampling equipment, media and accessories for both sale and rental.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of industrial hygiene, environmental, and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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